Vol 21, No 3

NBFTP: a dedicated data transfer system for remote astronomical observation at Dome A

Si-Yuan Huang, Ce Yu, Chao Sun, Yi Hu, Zhaohui Shang, Bin Ma, Ming Che, Xiao-Xiao Lu


Abstract Dome A, Antarctica, has been thought to be one of the best astronomical sites on the Earth for decades. Since it was first visited by astronomers in 2008, dozens of facilities for astronomical observation and site testing were deployed. Due to its special geographical location, the data and message exchange between Dome A and the domestic control center could only depend on Iridium. Because the link bandwidth of Iridium is extremely limited, the network traffic cost is quite expensive and the network is rather unstable, the commonly used data transfer tools, such as rsync and scp, are not suitable in this case. In this paper, we design and implement a data transfer tool called NBFTP (narrow bandwidth file transfer protocol) for the astronomical observation of Dome A. NBFTP uses a uniform interface to arrange all types of data and matches specific transmission schemes for different data types according to rules. Break-point resuming and extensibility functions are also implemented. Our experimental results show that NBFTP consumes 60% less network traffic than rsync when detecting the data pending to be transferred. When transferring small files of 1KB, the network traffic consumption of NBFTP is 40% less than rsync. However, as the file size increases, the network traffic consumption of NBFTP tends to approach rsync, but it is still smaller than rsync.


Keywords Astronomical instrumentation, methods and techniques — techniques: miscellaneous — telescopes — site testing

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